Pi Day

Pi Day

Pi Picture croppedSeth Godin brought Pi Day to my inbox this morning. He alerted me to the fact that pi’s opening digits, 3.1415, match up with the calendar today. Take a moment to read his excellent brief statement about it, so I don’t have to repeat what he said, but rather can add my own take on Pi to the equation. Carpe Diem style.

As the Founder of Something Or Other Publishing (SOOP) I immediately emailed SOOP’s Authors encouraging them to Carpe their own Diem – to do the imaginable, one day at a time, vs. listening to the critics in our head that tell us something isn’t possible. Then it struck me. Pi Day isn’t a day that comes once a year.  It’s a day that only comes once every hundred years.

At least by the roman calendar, and by the month/day/year convention. (If we use the day/month/year convention there’s no Pi Day at all). Here’s a definition of Pi. “A name given to the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter. That means, for any circle, you can divide the circumference (the distance around the circle) by the diameter and always get exactly the same number.” For me it always brings to mind David Bowie’s epic early song, the Width of a Circle from “The Man who Sold the World”

Aztec Calendar MayanThe calendar is a big deal to me. I’m a believer in Revelation. On the site devoted to my book, The People of the Sign, I used the calendar date of 9/11 to write about the Divine Calendar – the one mentioned in the book of Genesis, which claims that God established time, and that He did so by organizing the sun, moon, earth and even the stars in such a way as to create a gigantic universal clock. A clock so powerful it could not only predict the future, but be used as a lens to make sense of today, in that light.

Einstein God's ThoughtsPi Day highlights a very important element in my personal search. Many who accept Revelation reject Science. This is a huge mistake. Einstein is arguably the worlds most famous scientist, and he famously stated “I want to know God’s thoughts – the rest are details”.  In my view, his contribution to understanding Time was one of his greatest. He also wrote “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

My blog today is to appeal to my Scientific minded friends to reflect on the unquantifiable mystery of a simple circle, and the mix of knowledge and imagination needed to create great things. And while my Religious minded friends understand that God created man to know Him and to worship Him, they may not have understood that Science is simply one way in which many seek to do exactly that. Whether they recognize it or not at this point.

In time they will.

Davinci's ManIn the meantime, what is the width of your Circle? I like to use the Virtues to measure mine. That’s why I conclude each of my blogs with one.

For those who want to know the Science behind my use of Virtues Cards in blogging, I always pull the card after completing the blog, using the Virtue to reflect upon what I wrote. I love the serendipity of seeing what emerges. Today I was very pleased that it was Devotion.

“Devotion is commitment to something we care about deeply. It is a passionate focus on our life’s purpose… What is my ‘yes’? What calls me so strongly that I cannot resist, knowing that it is truly mine to do?” The card features the quote “Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground”.

Devotion

 

Islamic State Has No Dignity

Islamic State Has No Dignity

Flag_of_the_Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_LevantI just read a most fascinating article by Nadim Shehadi which answers a question that comes to my Western mind with regard to the Islamic State (ISIS, or ISIL).  The article states “Islamic State has been described as a virtual entity, its visibility a product of a sophisticated media strategy designed to make it seem like the fount of all evil.” My immediate reaction to this is “Why?”  Why choose a path of such obvious offense?  The article answers this, using history and regional legal practice.

But it doesn’t for one second diminish the horror of what is occurring, nor, for those who see beyond and behind today’s headlines, does it do anything to diminish the ominous nature of the gathering global thunderclouds.  A global polarization is occurring, one that is so dramatic it threatens to reverse the polarity of the planet, turning everything upside down.  At its center is the tiny nation of Israel.

Israel is the primary focal point of an intolerant fundamentalist hatred that has come to permeate much of the Islamic World.  Supporters of Israel, such as the United States, are caught in the dragnet.  Labels like “The Great Satan” are applied not only for supporting Israel, but also for representing a different civilization, a different way of life. Support for Israel is a topic for other blogs, as is the soulless materialism and hypocrisy of the West, all catalysts of Islamic antipathy.  But while two wrongs do not make a right, there are degrees of wrong.  Just as there are degrees of, dare I say the word… Evil!

Seeing Evil for what it is

See evil for what it is.

I use Virtues to filter my thoughts now and for this blog I randomly selected Dignity.  The card I pulled calls Dignity “a sense of worthiness and respect.  It comes from remembering who we truly are and our purpose for being.”  Dignity requires us to stand up for what is right and true, for the good of ourselves and those who are behaving in ways that destroy Dignity.

I’ll leave you with the request to read the article that inspired this one and reflect on how an inherent deception, the desire to “establish” legitimacy by covert, and vicious means, is anything but dignified.  Millions are impressed, and inflamed with adoration and emulation for an entity that establishes itself by mounting a propaganda campaign that appeals to the most base and destructive urges of friend and foe alike.  This is destined to cause irreparable damage.

We’ve seen this movie before. We cannot follow the example of Neville Chamberlain.

We, as a species, must oppose Evil.  We, as a species, must find a means to stop it.

Not in reaction.  Not in anger.  But with Dignity.

Before the havoc it wreaks can grow to unstoppable proportions.

 

 

The Virtues Project

The Virtues Project

Last weekend my wife and I attended a two-day Virtues Workshop conducted by Valerie Hess and Terry Rahn of Virtues Village.

Terry Rahn

Terry Rahn

Valerie Hess

Valerie Hess

These two ladies are both Master Facilitators in the Virtues Project, a global grass roots effort.  I’ve been impressed with how effectively The Virtues Project challenges soulless materialism and secularism.  These weeds have sprung forth from the toxic soil of corrupt religion, leaving us modern folks who seek a higher path stuck between a rock and a hard place.  You may wish to check out  my prior blog on Virtues for more on the challenges facing society.  Today I’d like to briefly share what my family is doing to engage with and support the Virtues Project.

The Virtues Project provides what we believe to be the best solution to the conundrum described above.  Today’s families need a clear strategy on inoculating against the infections which run rampant in our societies.  Not only is it impossible to implement a quarantine, isolationism creates its own problems.  The Virtues Project provides not only protection, but a means through which we may safely, and with peace of mind, integrate our families into the broader culture.

Franssons Fall 2014 standingHere’s what we’re doing.  We’re hosting an Essential Family Virtues Program in our home again this year.  The workshop has empowered us to accompany the 10 participating families more effectively.  We are also stepping up our focus in other areas of our life on a daily basis.

This morning at breakfast we randomly selected Virtues Cards for each of us in the family.  Zoe grabbed Modesty, Caleb Truthfulness, Angela Thankfulness, and I pulled Excellence.  Each of us read the affirmation on our card out loud and agreed to help each other apply our our selected virtue today, while acknowledging the benefits we will accrue as individuals and as a family.  By nurturing these nascent qualities, we cause the seeds within us to sprout, grow, and bear fruit.  We’ve posted these cards on our fridge.  Now each time we reach for nutrition for our bodies we’ll also be reminded that we must nurture our souls.

And in each blog going forward, I’ll be incorporating a virtue, to provide the focus of excellence I committed to today.  I hope you will join us in the amazing process of planting these high quality seeds into your own soil wherever you live, to start the process of reversing the toxicity that has crept into our local lives.

Please comment, or send an email to Virtues@SOOPLLC.com to share, connect and engage further. The_Virtues_Project_banner_image

 

The Virtue of Teaching Virtues

The Virtue of Teaching Virtues

Teaching Virtues to BabySeven years ago my wife and I were newlyweds living the dream in Southern California.  Then we discovered we were expecting.  Nothing changes your perspective quicker than the responsibility that comes with having created life.

We quickly decided to move to the Midwest.  Southern California may be perfect in many ways, but it wasn’t the right place for us to raise a family.  Despite all my travels, the American Heartland was a completely foreign environment to me, but one familiar to Angela, who was raised in it.  Which almost brings me to the point of this blog.

The world is entering a precarious time, in which religion is increasingly under attack in the West.  Materialism and Secularism have driven this trend for more than a hundred years, but it has rapidly accelerated in recent decades as many conclude that most of the worlds violence and negative tendencies emanate from religion.  This is highly debatable, since despotic rulers seeking to eradicate Religion have destroyed far more lives in the last 100 years than those doing so in the name of Religion.

Nonetheless, an emphasis on the material is like a powerful gravity source pulling at the Western mind.  This force counteracts the spiritual elements of society that traditionally raised our standards by teaching and instilling virtues into our children, and thus our civilization.  We see the effects in all of our institutions today, including business, government, schools and entertainment.Black Hole  What can families do to instill values and foster virtues in their own children, and also extend these into the community and society in general?

We stumbled upon the Global Virtues project through the Baha’i Faith, of which we are members.  This marvelous project has enabled us to create The Essential Family Virtues Program – Madison, which we run out of our home.  Perhaps the most powerful element of the Virtues Project is independence from any specific Religion or Ideology.  All of them claim to aspire to the same high ideals, and the Virtues represent a common language that allows all of them to communicate.

This year we’re focused on Truthfulness, Kindness, Forgiveness, Courage and Service, among others.  While teaching virtues together within our own families, we learn from and about each other at the same time.  This provides instant feedback on the power of the language of Virtues to transcend any perceived differences and create a community able to overcome the forces of materialism pulling us all towards its vortex.

It initially surprised me how quickly others grasp the value of what we’re doing and express an interest to join us.  As we enter our second year we’re finding that lighting our candles together chases away a considerable amount of darkness.  Please send an email to Virtues@SOOPLLC.com if you’d like to discuss lighting a similar candle in your area, wherever you might find yourself.  The language of virtues is universal – no translator needed.

One candle can dispel the darkness